Tag Archives: chickens

Weekly Recap/Observations – August 22, 2014

-Trace and I worked all weekend to get the hot wire up for dogs along the boundary fence. We only electrified one corner however it’s the section they pace the most and it seems to have helped; we’ve only had one escape since they’ve felt the bite of the hot wire. We do plan to get the rest activated, especially now that we’ve seen how effective it is.

-Between the chickens and dogs my stevia plant was wrecked. Serendipitously a couple of days previous I’d started following another homesteading blogger who’d posted about making her own stevia extract (the image is of the completed extract, left, and the stevia soaking, right). You can find the post here. I may not have let mine simmer long enough, it still smells of vodka but I’m excited to try it.

-We’ve been lax with our male goats. We bought them as wethers, but they were too young when we got them so we had always planned to neuter them, however time went by and we kept procrastinating. Luckily we have not ended up with a pregnant female! We finally got around to castrating them. I chose to use emasculatome – partly due to age and partly because this seemed like the most humane and safest at home method. It’s not a complicated process and we were surprised at how well the goats handled it. They were more upset about being held still than the pain of the procedure. I found the article here to be particularly helpful.

-While we were holding the goats for the emasculation we went ahead and trimmed their hooves as well. It had definitely been too long since the last trimming. I find it’s a more challenging task than it should be so I put it off; I need to do it more often.

-Mama Hen – Penny – continues to take good care of her chicks. They’ve started venturing out into the chicken run, mixing a bit with the rest of the chickens and she’s been teaching them how to scratch.

-It’s fascinating to watch Penny protect her chicks. Kate (the border collie) was watching the chicks and, in a split second, went after one. I was right there and yelled at her, but I think what really made the impression was Penny chasing after her (Kate) squawking and pecking. Kate bolted; I’m not too worried about Kate trying that again.

-Penny #2 continues to sit on her clutch of eggs. If all goes as it should her eggs should hatch sometime over Labor Day weekend.

-I’m reading “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle“, not only is it a wonderful book but I’m starting to think about improvements for next year’s garden. In addition, I’m trying to be better about actually harvesting and preserving what we do get this year.

-Along those lines I came home the other night and walked the¬†property harvesting a bowl full of blackberries. I also tried to pick some of the salal berries, but they are not very easy to pick and I can now appreciate why they’re not as well known.

-I laid the blackberries on a cookie tray and froze them for future use. We use frozen fruit for smoothies all the time. I’m also interested in trying my hand at jelly if we get enough.

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Weekly Recap/Observations – August 15, 2014

Well first, I can’t believe I forgot a post last week!

-It was a big week too – our chicks hatched! “Penny” (honorary title bestowed on any brooding hen) sat on 8 eggs. 4 hatched after 22 days. 2 tried to hatch and didn’t make and the other 2 didn’t hatch at all. (I need to dig out the unhatched eggs – we want to crack them and see if they were fertilized or not.)

-Egg production dropped for a couple of days. We’re not sure why although we were a day and a half late refilling their food so that’s a definite possibility. It’s also been extremely hot (for WA) and we’ve had two broody hens.

-As mentioned above – we have two broody hens, “Penny” who hatched the chicks and “Penny 2” who was broody awhile ago and we tried putting eggs under her but she only lasted a couple of days. She’s broody again so we’ve put another 9 eggs under her to try again. So far she’s beat her record from before and has stayed on them.

-We continue to move the goats through the property. Their favorite day of the week is the day they move – NEW GREENS!

-I attended a “Goat Husbandry” class at Left Foot Farm (where we got our goats and Samson). I came away with a manual and confirmation that we’re basically doing things right.

-The older keet continues to hang out with the goats but has also taken to wandering into the chicken area. They don’t seem to harass her too much. And she’s very curious about the younger keets.

-We moved the chicken run into the yard outside where the chickens roost and then moved the 10 keets from the enclosed coop to the more open run so that they and the chickens could start to get to know each other.

-Clover kindled on Wed. She built a great nest and had all the babies in the nest box. The 9 babies are active and squeaky.

-The garden is flourishing. We’ve been harvesting herbs, tomatillos and zucchini regularly and Trace has been using all in omelets for dinner. It’s quite fun to have a fully home-grown meal.

-We continue to have decent heat. I’m hoping that the heaps of green tomatoes start ripening soon.

Weekly Recap/Observations – July 25, 2014

-Trace picked up 25 bales of hay that we stacked by the rabbits – it looks like a “real” farm now!

-We lost a keet – not sure how, possibly a hawk – down to one now

-We moved the goats over, it was not the easiest process and we definitely need to get the additional posts for supporting the corners

-Took Flint and Samson up to Whidbey Island with us – they did very well both with the long car ride and the ferry

-Finally got some rain – the garden is happy as we’ve been somewhat lazy about hand watering

-‘Penny’ is still sitting on a clutch of 8 eggs

-Trace moved Daisy’s babies to their own grow-out hutch

-The chickens seem to like the baby cucumbers so the one I picked a few weeks ago may be our only one this year

Weekly Recap/Observations – July 18, 2014

-Harvested our first cucumber

-The chickens have discovered the cucumbers and determined they like the newly budding fruit so our first cucumber may also be our last

-Harvested two handfuls of green beans – apparently they were growing quite well hidden under their leaves

-Trace “harvested” 5 from Artemis’ litter¬†– we saved out two females to take over for Beatrix (who turned out to be Buster)

-We gave Buster to Rob who was looking for a younger male as Bugsy isn’t doing so well these days

-We bred Clover this week

-Trace visited Phood (our pig at Rob’s) and helped move the pig pen

-We have another broody hen; we’ve set her up in one of the rabbit grow out cages as it’s been so warm we wanted her someplace that would have good air circulation. I put 8 eggs under her.

-Our Premier1 fencing arrived. We’ve set it up and moved the goats, their house and their spools into the area.

-The guineas won’t leave the goats for very long and have no interest in roosting with the chickens, so we’ve let them be

-This week was still warm (mid-80s) but it’s cooling down and it looks like we should get some rain this weekend